NCAA Basketball

Final 1 2 Tot
42 33 75
39 34 73
4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET11:00 PM GMT7:00 PM 北京时间4:00 PM MST6:00 PM EST, Mar 15, 2019
United Center, Chicago, Illinois  Attendance: 17,369

Purdue begins Big Ten tourney run against Minnesota

The past few days provided reasons to celebrate for the 13th-ranked Purdue basketball team.

First, the Boilermakers won at Northwestern on Saturday to capture a share of their 24th Big Ten regular-season title, the most of any program in the conference.

Two days later, Purdue head coach Matt Painter was named Big Ten Coach of the Year for the fourth time, while junior point guard Carsen Edwards was named first team all-conference and sophomore Nojel Eastern was named to the league's all-defensive team.

But as much fun as the title and postseason awards were for Purdue, it is refocused on earning more accolades at this weekend's conference tournament, starting with a quarterfinal matchup against Minnesota on Friday night at the United Center in Chicago.

The No. 2 seed in the conference tournament after sharing the regular-season title with Michigan State, the Boilermakers won 16 of their last 19 conference games following a 7-5 start to the season.

"We had a tough nonconference, but we had a great schedule," Painter told Big Ten Network following the win over Northwestern. "These guys have been great. We've hung in there. We have some guys that have really worked on their game. We have some guys that can shoot the basketball. When our decision-making is good, I think we are pretty tough to guard."

While Purdue is second-to-none in the conference in regular-season titles, the conference tournament is a different story.

Purdue has only won the Big Ten tournament once, and that was in 2009.

Purdue has been to the conference championship game twice in the past three years, losing to Michigan State in 2016 and to Michigan last year.

Edwards enters postseason play leading the Boilermakers in scoring at 23.4 points per game, while senior Ryan Cline is shooting 41.9 percent from 3-point range.

The Boilermakers have also been stingy defensively during their run in Big Ten play and are averaging just 66.5 points a game.

Standing in the way is seventh-seeded Minnesota, which likely cemented an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament with a 77-72 overtime win over Penn State in a Big Ten quarterfinal on Thursday.

Minnesota trailed 59-51 with 4:47 left in regulation, but answered with a 10-2 run to force overtime.

The Gophers continued that momentum gained over the last five minutes of regulation into overtime, avoiding the upset and earning a rubber match against the Boilermakers.

Purdue and Minnesota split their two regular-season meetings, with Purdue winning 73-63 in West Lafayette, Ind., on Feb. 3.

But it was the rematch in Minneapolis that proved to be one of the more important games of the year in the conference, as Minnesota upset Purdue 73-69.

The loss cost Purdue an outright conference title.

But now, Purdue has a chance to atone for that loss as it pursues a conference title. The winner will face the winner of the 9:30 p.m. quarterfinal on Friday in the second semifinal on Saturday.

--Field Level Media

Updated March 15, 2019

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